How to Launch Your Event Management Career

Are you seeking a career that offers creativity, variety, and exciting opportunities? Look no further than event management. Whether you're just starting out or looking for a change, the event management industry offers fantastic prospects,...

Are you seeking a career that offers creativity, variety, and exciting opportunities? Look no further than event management. Whether you're just starting out or looking for a change, the event management industry offers fantastic prospects, including travel, experience, and career progression.

Why Choose a Career in Event Management?

Event management is a field like no other, offering a diverse range of opportunities for creativity, socializing, and travel. From organizing a wedding in the Welsh countryside to planning a surf competition on the coast of Cornwall, every day brings something new and exciting.

According to event manager Louisa Douglas, one of the key attractions of the industry is the constant sense of change and variety: "No two days or events are the same, it's an agile industry that's always changing, plus I get to meet new people all the time."

Working closely with clients to plan and deliver successful events is not only rewarding but offers excellent career progression.

Getting Started in Event Management

If you're aspiring to be an event planner, it's important to consider the skills and qualities you'll need, as well as the types of events you'd like to specialize in. Gaining experience in the industry can help you narrow down your options.

Different Types of Events to Consider

As an event manager, you have the opportunity to work on various types of events, such as conferences, cultural events, exhibitions, trade fairs, fundraising and social events, theatre performances, music festivals and shows, parties and weddings, promotions and product launches, award ceremonies, dance shows, comedy shows, book launches, and charity fundraisers. The possibilities are endless!

Music Festival event management career Image: Music Festival event management career

Essential Skills for Event Organizers

To excel in event management, it's crucial to possess the following skills:

  • Excellent organization
  • Multitasking abilities
  • Good communication and people skills
  • Creative problem-solving approach
  • High attention to detail
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • Negotiation, sales, and marketing skills
  • Budget awareness
  • High energy level
  • PR skills (a bonus)

Event Management Qualifications

While a degree is not a necessity for becoming an event manager, having strong organizational skills, creativity, and excellent PR skills can give you an edge in the industry. However, if you choose to pursue a qualification to enhance your CV, there are various professional courses available.

Entry-level event management qualifications include the Level 2 Award in Event Planning and the Level 2 Certificate in Live Events and Promotion. For those looking for higher-level qualifications, options include the BTEC Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Event Management, the Level 3 (NVQ) Diploma in Event Management, the Level 3 Diploma in Live Events and Promotion, and the Level 4 Award in Conferences and Events Operations.

While qualifications can provide theoretical knowledge, hands-on practical experience is equally important. Potential employers value candidates who can demonstrate real-world experience.

Tips for Starting Your Event Management Career

Gaining experience can be challenging, especially when you're just starting out. Here are some tips to help you kick-start your event planning career:

  • Stay up-to-date with market trends by reading industry blogs, articles, and books by experts.
  • Research and choose the right events companies that align with your interests and goals.
  • Make use of social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with industry influencers, event companies, and relevant professionals.
  • Be creative during interviews by coming up with ideas that could raise the profile of the company you're interviewing with.
  • Gain practical experience through internships, apprenticeships, or volunteering. These opportunities will provide you with valuable hands-on experience.
  • Network at events and industry gatherings. Connect with fellow event professionals, attend relevant talks and exhibitions, and build relationships. Networking is a powerful tool in finding job opportunities.

Event work experience opportunities child collecting shrimp in a bucket Image: Event work experience opportunities child collecting shrimp in a bucket

Finding Event Management Jobs

When searching for event management jobs, consider exploring specialized event job websites like the Association of Event Organisers (AEO). Additionally, sign up with event recruitment agencies such as Albany Appointments, ESP Recruitment, or Live Recruitment. These agencies have valuable networks that can help you find a suitable role.

For a more proactive approach, utilize LinkedIn to connect with professionals in the industry and make targeted applications to event companies of interest.

Networking Opportunities in Event Management

Networking plays a crucial role in finding event management opportunities. Attend industry events, introduce yourself to fellow professionals, and arrange future meetups. Utilize social media platforms like EventBrite and Meetup to discover local events and connect with like-minded individuals.

Before attending events, research and identify talks or exhibitions that align with your career goals. This will maximize your time and help you build valuable connections. Also, engage with event planners on social media using relevant event hashtags to join the conversation and establish connections prior to the event.

It's natural to feel nervous when networking, but remember that everyone started somewhere. Embrace the opportunity to meet new people, be confident, and showcase your passion for event management.

Networking opportunities at events Image: Networking opportunities at events

Life as an Event Planner - What to Expect

The life of an event planner is anything but typical. Each day brings new challenges and unique experiences. Your daily routine will depend on factors such as the type of events you specialize in, the stage of event planning you're in, and the company you work for.

A typical day for an event manager may involve:

  • Meeting with clients to understand their needs
  • Agreeing on budgets and timelines
  • Generating original event ideas, including virtual or hybrid events
  • Researching and negotiating with venues and suppliers
  • Booking venues, entertainment, equipment, and supplies
  • Hiring and supervising contractors such as caterers and security
  • Marketing the event
  • Managing the event on the day to ensure smooth operations
  • Ensuring compliance with health, safety, and insurance regulations
  • Overseeing an events team or volunteers

Neworking opportunities at events Image: Networking opportunities at events

Lucrative Salaries in Event Management

Event management can be a financially rewarding career. According to the National Careers Service, average salaries in the industry range from £21,000 to £40,000, depending on experience. It's important to note that salaries in London tend to be higher than in other parts of the country.

Building Your Event Management Career

With experience and a proven track record, you have the potential to work on events with larger budgets, manage teams, freelance, or even establish your own events management business.

To progress in your career and broaden your skillset, consider taking courses offered by professional bodies such as the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO), or Meetings Industry Association (MIA). These courses cover topics like event marketing, finance, health and safety, project management, and sales.

Expert Advice from Event Management Professionals

We spoke to two experienced event management professionals for their insights and advice:

Louisa Douglas - Events Professional

Time in the industry: 12 years

Louisa's advice:

  • Consider completing a degree in event management or gaining entry-level experience in your desired field.
  • Think about the type of events you'd like to plan and try to secure an entry-level job in that sector.
  • Be prepared to work hard, as event management can be demanding, but it's also fun and extremely rewarding.

Sara Carella-Lyne - Deputy Conference Centre Manager at 20 Bedford Way

Time in the industry: 5 years

Sara's advice:

  • Develop excellent customer service skills, as client satisfaction is crucial in event management.
  • Be prepared for irregular working hours and prioritize organizational skills.
  • Embrace the diversity of the job and enjoy working with different people and organizations.

Your Journey Starts Here

Embarking on a career in event management opens up a world of exciting possibilities. Whether you choose to work for an agency, in-house, or as a freelancer, your path to success is driven by your passion, dedication, and willingness to learn.

Are you ready to make your mark in the dynamic world of event management? Take the first step today and start planning your future in this thrilling industry.

Main image: June Dally Watkins Modelling School, State Library of New South Wales via Flickr